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Question:
I am a junior high Science teacher. For the past two years I have tried to help my students build cloud chambers. We use small plastic dishes with black felt on the bottom and a black paper ring around the inside edge. We use Coleman lantern mantles and 91% isopropyl alcohol. We place this in a Wendy's salad container along with vermiculite and dry ice. And we wait, and wait. The room is darkened. The children use flashlights to see into the chamber. And they see nothing. I know I have seen this experiment work. It has worked for me in the past...but not these last two years. What am I doing wrong? Does anyone have any suggestions? Help! I would really like to do this- but with success.



Replies:
Have you tried it with a radioactive source? It is a difficult construction; I know, I have tried it. Usually you have to compress and expand the chamber, and you see tracks only on the expansion. But it the expansion is not "smooth" then the cloud is turbulent and will not hold tracks. Please let me know if you get one working.

Jack L. Uretsky



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